First of all I would like to say thank you to the RDP team for all of the useful information provided throughout the course – I have found it a really worthwhile experience.
Looking back at my first blog post I noted that from the 23 Things programme I wanted to practice writing for a lay audience, set up a LinkedIn and Twitter account, and gain some insight regarding the appropriate level of communication on social media. I think that I have managed to do all of these things (and more!). I am now active on various social media channels which has turned out to be a really great way of keeping up to date with new research and interesting events. I notice that even very distinguished figures in my area of interest write short posts on LinkedIn etc., so I make an effort to comment on these when I feel appropriate. Perhaps even if I don’t get a reply my name may seem familiar if I ever get the chance to chat with these people at a conference in the future.
The introduction to reference management tools has been useful and this is the area that I need to dedicate the most time to in the near future. I need to transfer all of my references which are currently typed in a fifty page word document into EndNote or another platform. I don’t suppose anyone knows a neat trick of how to do this without having to enter each individual reference manually? I have tried to investigate this a little and it seems that you have to have formatted your references in a word bibliography in order to directly transfer them to a reference management library.
Following 23 Things I am really looking forward to having the opportunity to give presentations/ classes so that I can start to make proper use of some of the visual sources we have been introduced to such as Flickr and TableauPublic (thanks for making this accessible on the university computers). I have even used a TP visualization in a recent report of mine.
Aside from the contents of the course, I have found it valuable having an extra commitment on top of my typical research each week. This has shown me that I can make time for extra things and has encouraged me to get involved with other opportunities within the university to further my development beyond report writing and data analysis. Moving forward, I aim to make my own website (perhaps this one altered or from scratch) and to make an effort to start to write short blogs about topics related to my research when I can find the time. Once I am happy with the state of this website I will use it as the main source of information about myself online.
Image credited to Carol VanHook (https://www.flickr.com/photos/librariesrock/)
Thanks this week for the information concerning job/ funding sources; previously I have just relied on sites such as indeed.com. I set up my profile on *Research Professional but found the majority of funding opportunities for psychology to be health-related, which is not my area of research. Perhaps that is reflective of the current state of funding or I need to spend some more time exploring the website further. I also tried out Euraxess and much preferred this site to *Research Professional. Overall it seemed to offer me more results, be easier to use, and also more visually appealing. I think I will definitely come back to this in a few years’ time once I am closer to the end of my PhD. The one criticism I will make of Euraxess is that the selections you make in your search (e.g. I selected “First Stage Researcher”) do not always lead to precise results. For example, within my search results were posts for PhD students and Professors, so it took some time to go through and find those items relevant for me even though I had made my search quite specific. All the sites you highlighted have been really useful in terms of locating opportunities abroad too!
I really want to have my own proper website but at this early stage in my PhD I worry that I will not have enough stuff to fill it with. One of the things that I have found frustrating in this course is that there are so many social media channels that researchers are expected to have a presence on. I like the point you make about needing to have one place where I can pull everything together. If I can place a link to the website on my Twitter page etc. then I guess it means that I don’t have to worry so much about trying to tweet frequently if people can find my one website where everything is up to date and exciting. On my ideal website I would like to have sections that cover the latest research in my field (and my comments on it), a blog, my research papers, images from presentations… I have a way to go before I can have all that content, but I am determined to make it a success before the end of my PhD. One of my supervisors has a brilliant personal website which I suggest you check out if you would like a really nice example: http://timjackson.org.uk/
I have to admit when I first read crowdsourcing I had assumed that it meant recruiting the wider public to take part in your research, more as a participant that as a researcher themselves. I took some time to read Stuart Dunn’s article “More than a business model: crowd-sourcing and impact in the humanities.” Following this, I could appreciate the value of crowdsourcing for connecting researchers with members of the public who have an interest in and are keen to contribute to their research. However I think I need to do a lot more reading before I can fully get my head around which tasks are appropriate for crowdsourcing and which are not. Other complications such as, if member of the public X contributed to my research does this mean that they should now be cited as an author of that paper, or do I need to provide rewards for people’s time (?), also seem troublesome to me. Perhaps participation in crowdsourcing projects can be made essential for undergraduates in order to help them to learn what is involved in research? In terms of my own project, maybe I could use crowdsourcing as a means of collecting an archive of advertisements around a specific topic that I am interested in?
I have not been part of a webinar before but I am aware of this type of software as my research group often uses it to allow remote members to attend team meetings. I imagine that these platforms are also used if you take an online course through sites such as coursera which we came across previously in this course. The flexibility of being able to conduct seminars online seems great if lecturers were willing to adopt the proper use of software such as Adobe Connect. Thinking back to my undergraduate years it was always a nightmare trying to reschedule a class if the lecturer was ill or had a last-minute trip. Recording a slideshow presentation through a webinar seems like a great back-up in situations like this – although I don’t think that online lectures should ever replace real classes. Also, I can imagine using webinars to have informal chats with tutor groups or mentees.
I have used Doodle many times for scheduling research group meetings but I was not aware of the possibility to link it to google calendar. In terms of research, I can see it being practical as a survey tool but only if there was an option to hide other respondents’ reports (unless you wanted to test the impact of norms on behaviour?!?).
I used google drive a lot during a group project during my master’s course whereby we were conducting interviews for a health charity; we used google drive to share and edit the write-ups of the interviews. I have also previously used Dropbox. I find it useful for sharing large files such as videos which sometimes cannot be sent via email attachments. The CUSP research group also has its own Dropbox folder with many useful files that can be accessed by all members at any time. A couple of colleagues and I also have a shared document that we used to communicate information on topics that are common to our projects. To do this we are using Office 365 OneDrive which does the job, although I find editing easier on google documents.
I am not published yet so I chose the following three journal articles based on my interests:
Bauer, M. A., Wilkie, J. E., Kim, J. K., & Bodenhausen, G. V. (2012). Cuing consumerism: Situational materialism undermines personal and social well-being. Psychological Science, 23(5), 517-523.
Hudders, L., & Pandelaere, M. (2012). The silver lining of materialism: The impact of luxury consumption on subjective well-being. Journal of Happiness Studies, 13(3), 411-437.
Carter, T. J., & Gilovich, T. (2012). I am what I do, not what I have: the differential centrality of experiential and material purchases to the self. Journal of personality and social psychology, 102(6), 1304-1317.
First of all I found it frustrating that Web of Science and Scopus would not be able to locate my paper if I entered the full citation. I had to just write the title of the article instead. I did not have this problem with Google Scholar. It is surprising that I could not locate the Carter and Gilovich (2012) paper on Web of Science as this paper actually has the most citations out of the three articles on the other two platforms.
I explored the example ImpactStory profile. I thought that the timeline feature was great for helping to track your online presence and would be useful for assessing whether some of the social media platforms we have looked at previously as part of 23 Things really do help to spread your research and profile online. In terms of the achievements I think that the best ones are those that outline in what countries your research is being viewed. My research is focused on individuals in the UK, however I can see how for cross-cultural research this type of feedback would be extremely useful! I also looked at the metrics for the Scopus article. I think that if these figures are accurate then altmetrics become the means by which to assess the impact of research online. I especially liked how right away you could see the exact tweets and posts that had been made concerning the article. Being able to see, for example, that two of the Facebook posts were exactly the same helps the data to be more transparent and stops repetitive posting by a friend etc. in order to boost the metrics for an article which has not actually had that much of an impact.
Overall, I think that the importance now being placed on impact in academia is important for making sure that research has real world applications. However, at times the pressure to get your research out there as much as possible can be a distraction from actually taking the time to do quality research. I think it also makes academia into a popularity contest whereby it is not the best research that is being shown to have the greatest impact (therefore aiding the career progression of the researcher) but rather those papers written by popular or already established personalities.
First off this week I had a quick play around with Screencast-o-matic. Wow, I could not believe how easily this tool could be used. I think this could be a useful way of preparing for presentations, so that I can record myself speaking as I move through my PowerPoint slides and check that everything matches up and is to time. Much further into the future perhaps I can consider recording revision lectures for students using this tool also.
Next I tried out TableauPublic. I found the site quite fairly easy to use and believe that it is a good alternative to making graphs using excel where appropriate. For example the world maps look great and I can imagine myself using this tool for showing where my participants are from when presenting the results of one of my studies. Below is an example of a visualisation I made of the average rotten tomatoes ratings for films made by different lead studios.
I have seen Prezi being used before but I have mixed feelings about it. In advertising classes as part of my masters the tutor loved it if a student used Prezi. Using it for a science presentation however… I’m not so sure. I think in certain contexts it can seem a bit too fluffy, as though its style over substance. Nevertheless I am taking a presentation I gave about a year ago using PowerPoint and trying to fit the content into a Prezi presentation to see which I prefer. Results below (once complete).
For my image I choose to include some advice:
Image taken from flickr/ Erno Hannick (https://www.flickr.com/photos/ernohannink/) (CC license)
Whilst I have been aware of the existence of reference management tools, I have not used one previously. This week I decided to try out Mendeley. Quickly I realised that reference management software such as this would not benefit me. This is for one reason only: I purposefully make an effort not to download articles! My understanding is that Mendeley allows you to store all of your articles, e.g. as pdfs, and then nicely links all articles with their reference in the desired format. But if I do not have the downloaded articles to begin with then this does not help me much. Perhaps one day I will regret choosing to work in this way but for now I find not downloading articles, but rather taking their reference and making a few notes to go with it, a much better way of working. It forces me to read an article right away rather than saving and coming back to it.
I decided to do a little reading around the benefits of using reference management software and two points in particular stuck out to me. The first being the ability to share reference lists, and the second being the ability to change the reference formatting pretty easily. I have had one experience in the past whereby I needed to change my apa reference list into Harvard format and this was not an enjoyable task. So now I am really considering the types of journals I may want to publish in throughout my PhD to see if software such as Mendeley may end up being worth it for this use only. In terms of sharing reference lists I think this will be more useful for if I ever end up making it to the postdoc stage and begin to collaborate with others on research to a greater degree. I have to admit one of the factors putting me off starting to use Mendeley properly now is that I would need to go and find the articles for the many papers I have already read. When I start on a new project/ section within my PhD then I will definitely try to use Mendeley to see how it compares to the method I am currently using.
I have not used LinkedIn before so I set up an account today. First impressions are that it was easy enough to add my CV information to my profile but beyond this it seems to be more complex than many of the other platforms we have considered during the 23 Things course so far. I have to admit that I am not bursting with enthusiasm to explore this site further. I think that the Jobs feature looks interesting so perhaps in a few years time I will realise the usefulness of LinkedIn more. Right now I am glad to have finally set up an account on this site so that if people wish to search for me they can see my "online CV" but I think I need to discuss with other members of my research group how they think that LinkedIn can be used most effectively at this stage in my career.
I have used Academia.edu and ResearchGate before but I have to admit that the sole purpose of this was just to gain access to articles. I think that I have created a different profile on both of these sites using each of the University email addresses I have previously owned. Having said that a couple of weeks ago I did post a question on ResearchGate, not expecting much of a response, and to my surprise I received at least three very useful (and friendly) replies. Therefore I will definitely make an effort to use this site more. I like how they can also email you updates of when individuals you follow post new research so it could be a great tool for making sure you dont miss any key articles in your field.
I really think that there are too many ways of connecting with other professionals online. With Twitter, LinkedIn, ResearchGate.... I am starting to feel like if I were to properly dedicate myself to all of these sites then I would need to change my position from PhD researcher to social media guru. This week I noticed that on LinkedIn the groups that I follow can post updates which you like, comment, share etc. (sound familiar?), but I have already seen these updates on Facebook and Twitter so do I really need to like them again?!? To me there is too much replication across the different social media platforms. If LinkedIn was created as a professional networking site then I don't really see how it has any special use if researchers are now expected to present themselves in a professional manner across all of their social media outlets. So far I think that I will most likely stick to using Twitter as it is easy to use and I like how most researchers do not have a private profile so you can follow and connect with them instantly. Plus I definitely want to spend more time seeking out researchers in my field on ResearchGate.
I was expecting to be on about page twenty of the google search results before coming across anything remotely related to myself. However I was in for a pleasant surprise. After typing just my name, Amy Isham, into google I was presented with a first page of results that contained three items relating to myself. Each of these were academic related (one was a news post from my undergraduate university about a prize I had won for my undergrad dissertation, another was my profile page on the CUSP website - the project I am currently part of at the University of Surrey, and the final one a blog post I was asked to write for the Department of Psychology's blog whilst studying for my master's at Lancaster). So not a bad outcome at all.
I noticed, though, that my own presence on social media was lacking. All posts about me were written by a university, or by me for another person's platform. Whilst LinkedIn and Twitter profiles showed up, I do not have accounts on these sites and so none of these were mine. Hopefully this course will correct this problem for me (just set up my Twitter!). Also, there seems to be another Amy Isham who has been a research assistant at an Australian university, so I guess the similarities in occupation may make it easier for us to be confused. Overall I didn't find anything online that presented me in a negative way, now I just need to work on making sure that I increase the amount of positive stuff out there!
I set up my Twitter account a few hours ago and have been on a following-frenzy since then. The amount of content on Twitter is crazy and with everybody seemingly following hundreds or even thousands of people I question whether a follow is more an act of politeness than an actual desire to engage with somebody's posts. How can anyone keep up with following 1000 people who all tweet several times a day? Anyway, I notice that many people choose to simply report what is being said in their field whilst avoiding offering any strong personal opinions. Others seem to have no problem starting debate. I guess that will be one of the biggest challenges for me when using this platform - trying to be personal enough to be worth reading, but also avoid saying anything they may be perceived as out of line. For now I will refrain from making any controversial comments until I have a better grasp of the Twitter world...
This blog was written as part of the "23 Things for Research" course offered by the Researcher Development Programme at the University of Surrey.
Previously I have used the following social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Blogger. Most of these have been for personal use, although I did try to set up a Twitter account and Blogger site to use as more of a brand / outlet for ideas I was interested in. In terms of using social media for personal use, increasingly I have become more conscious of the huge visibility of what is posted online and therefore have deleted all of my social media accounts other than Facebook. It seems that more and more you need to present yourself on social media as you would do in a job interview. It is difficult, especially when you are just starting your research career. You want to make sure that if anyone were to search for you on google, they would only be able to find content that would present yourself in a professional manner. However, people's interests and personalities change over time. I can remember a few times when slightly embarrassing tweets my fourteen year-old self posted have popped up. I guess this may be why many other researchers in my office choose not to use their full name on Facebook, for example. It just makes you stop and think before you comment on something or put an idea out there. I think that this will be less of an issue for me now that I have started my PhD and have a clearer grasp of the topics I am interested in and the areas I want to pursue in my future career. Transitioning from a teen to a young professional on social media is probably the most difficult time in terms of managing your online presence.
As I mentioned, a couple of years ago I did try to start a Twitter and Blogger page dedicated to blogging about topics I was interested in. With this I found it difficult to keep up momentum. I wrote my first couple of posts and then after that coming up new content was more difficult and almost became like a chore for me. There are people who blog as a full-time job and I think this highlights the level of commitment that is needed to keep running an active and successful blog in addition to your other study and research commitments. Also, when first starting a blog or other social media account, often you will not get very many views or comments on your early posts. I think that this is hard for the author because it feels as though you are putting in a lot of effort to put stuff out there and not getting a lot back. I hope that through this programme I can leave comments for and encourage other participants so that they feel motivated to keep up their blogging. In addition, I chose to participate in this twelve-week programme so that I would have a reason to stick with my blog even when I may be feeling that it is just another thing I need to tick off the to-do list. Hopefully once I get into a routine of writing it will become less of an extra effort and instead part of my week that I can enjoy.
Other things that I hope to get out of this programme are practice in writing about my research for a lay audience. Being able to communicate my ideas in simple terms through this blog I hope will better equip me to discuss my ideas with the general public through outreach programmes or even at conferences when the audience is not familiar with the ideas I am researching. I feel that most people in my department are using Linkedin and Twitter so I think that I need to set-up an account on these sites for myself. Hopefully this course will provide me with some tips regarding how these sites can be used successfully by PhD researchers. Finally, I would like to be able to gain some insight regarding the appropriate level of communication on social media. How informal can you be? Are there certain unwritten rules that if you are communicating with another academic over twitter that you can be far less formal than if you were sending them an email? Just general advice surrounding when it is appropriate to comment and when it is not would be appreciated!